The Fix

Prosecutors fear that Michael Jackson will flee, P. Diddy may host politics show on MTV, and Paul Newman heads to summer camp.

By Salon Staff

Published May 24, 2004 9:56AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
Beat it? Prosecutors are arguing that Michael Jackson's $3 million bail needs to stay right where it is because the pop star might be tempted to flee before his sex-abuse trial and go to a country that doesn't have extradition agreements with the U.S. According to a motion filed by the prosecution in his case, "He may well conclude that life as a wealthy absconder in one of these countries is preferable to what might amount to a life term in a California prison." (E!)

P for politics: P. Diddy is talking about hosting a political show on MTV, tentatively called "Project Change." He wants to get real people off the streets of Harlem and Brooklyn to ask President Bush and John Kerry the tough questions. Says Combs, "I'm going to make Kerry and Bush squirm." (EurWeb)

It's not all about salad dressing: Paul Newman has opened his sixth Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (named after the hideaway in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid") in California where kids with disabilities can participate in summer-camp activities and frolic in a wheelchair-accessible, whale-shaped pool and hypoallergenic gardens. (Zap2it)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
If you feel you know the faces of Appalachia, it's probably through the photography of Shelby Lee Adams, the subject of Jennifer Baichwal's 2002 documentary "The True Meaning of Pictures" (9 p.m. ET; TRIO), which is being rebroadcast on Monday. The lineup on "The Late Show With David Letterman" (11:30 p.m. ET; CBS) is pretty hard to beat: Nicole Kidman, a Top Ten List featuring the cast of "The Sopranos," and, to top it all off, a performance by pout-meistress Avril Lavigne.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Scratch that: When told that President Bush fell off his mountain bike and scratched himself up, did John Kerry really quip, "Did the training wheels fall off?" Matt Drudge reported that Kerry said just that "in front of cameras" -- and the Washington Times (who else?) followed up with Kerry's people, who said Kerry's comments were "off the record." (Washington Times)

Promised land or land of broken promises? Madonna has canceled three concerts she was scheduled to give in Tel Aviv in September after "death threats by unknown Palestinian militants," which she'd initially decided to weather, were ratcheted up to specific threats against her children, ages 7 and 3. According to a report in the Sun, the threats, delivered to Madonna's Los Angeles office, were said to have exhibited "in-depth knowledge" about Madonna's aides, and she decided she was "not ready to take chances with her kids," though the official reason for the cancellation is that she wants to focus on her tour's European dates. (Sun via Haaretz)

Update on Bush twins: Newsweek reports that they've sat for an interview and posed for the cameras for Vogue magazine -- and are planning a press blitz this summer. (Jenna, an English major, graduated from the University of Texas on Saturday; Barbara is graduating today from Yale with a degree in humanities.) Then, they vacation in Europe with friends and head for D.C. to help their father with his presidential campaign. Asked if the Bushes are nervous about their daughters' entering the media spotlight, a White House official said, "You bet." (Associated Press)

Michael Moore and the Palme d'Or: Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival, prompting complaints that the film had been rewarded for its political stance rather than its artistic excellence. To quiet the grumbling, the festival's jury, headed by Quentin Tarantino, held a press conference to explain the thinking behind their decision. "I made a statement early on that I didn't want politics to be involved," said Tarantino. "All that mattered was the reels of film. I told Michael Moore last night we all agreed that 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was the best feature in competition." (U.K. Herald) At a post-award screening of the film, Moore stood before the applauding black-tie-clad crowd and said, "Thank you very much for your support -- and goodbye Mr. Bush." (Drudge)

But making a political statement doesn't earn everyone a standing O: E.L. Doctorow was roundly booed when he gave a commencement speech at Long Island's Hofstra University denouncing President Bush and the war in Iraq. In his speech, the renowned writer called the president a storyteller, but said, "sadly they are not good stories this president tells ... because they are not true. One story he told was that the country of Iraq had nuclear and biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and was intending shortly to use them on us. That was an exciting story all right, it was designed to send shivers up our spines. But it was not true. Another story was that the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was in league with the terrorists of al-Qaida. And that turned out to be not true. But anyway we went off to war on the basis of these stories." When the booing threatened to derail the speech altogether, the university's president had to step up to the podium and beg the audience to hold off and let Doctorow finish. (Newsday)

Brace yourself for an onslaught of green jokes: "Shrek 2" took in an estimated $44.8 million on Saturday, setting a new record for earnings by a film in a single day. Its weekend gross was $104 million; only "Spider-Man" ($114.8 million) had a bigger opening. (N.Y. Daily News)

Amy won after all? "The Apprentice" winner Bill Rancic and also-ran Amy Henry (who broke up with fellow loser Nick Warnock some time back) were spotted "tongue-wrestling at a secluded spot on the roof" of New York restaurant Sushi Samba the other night. They got up to leave when they realized that they were being stared at ... by "Survivor" couple Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca. (Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter

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